All Things Open: Your Company Culture is 'Awesome' (But is 'Company Culture' a lie?)
At All Things Open I learned two valuable lessons as a speaker: 1) if you think people can’t see your slides very well, they can’t see your slides very well. Stop talking and adjust the lights as needed. Those gifs are important, yo! To rectify this blunder, I belatedly tweeted the following:
⚠IMPORTANT⚠ I've created an album of the animated gifs used in my presentation http://t.co/3FKRjDzzJO cc @stevenharman #ATO2014 #rmr2014— pamela marie (@pwnela) October 27, 2014
So if you want to follow along with the video/slidedeck, you can stay in-the-loop for how the gif slides should’ve looked. Alas!
Lesson 2) even if you are speaking at a 10 track conference at the very last time slot on the very last day, if you are giving a talk that people want to hear, they will come.
I was very nervous speaking at this HUGE conference (especially compared to Rocky Mountain Ruby) with multiple tracks. I was even more nervous about speaking at the same time slot as multiple speakers that I would have rather seen/heard. So when I arrived to a full room, I initially thought the people were leftover from the speaker before me. Much to my delight (and surprise), the room remained full.
The most helpful critique I received from speaking at Rocky Mountain Ruby was that it felt a little “rehearsed.” Knowing how valid this criticism was, I worked hard to make my presentation at All Things Open more conversational. It almost killed me.
I’ve realized that I might not be the conversational speaker type. I’m hoping with more speaking experience, some of the robotic elements will fade away, but I just don’t have it in me to pretend like I am shooting from the hip the whole time. My talk was very rehearsed. And rehearsed. And rehearsed some more.
So if you happen to watch both videos (bless you) and notice the stark change in delivery, that is why.
One thing I really enjoyed at All Things Open was the extra time I had for Q&A. While sometimes I’ve seen Q&A go very wrong, very quickly, I thoroughly enjoyed the questions I received at ATO. Such a thoughtful, respectful, and receptive audience. (If you’d like to skip to the Q&A part of the video, here is a handy link to do so).
I’ll be giving this talk once more at [Ancient City Ruby])(http://www.ancientcityruby.com) in March of 2015 before retiring it for good. I hope I can continue iterating on it until then so that my intended message is fully received. Writing code is hard, but communicating to people is even harder. It’s been a fun process learning how to convey an idea in a way that is interesting and clear. And the conversations I’ve had in working on and giving this talk have been more valuable than I ever imagined.
Most excited about the last session of a conference. When does that happen? #ATO2014 "Your Company Culture" in 201— Ginny Ghezzo (@GinnyGhezzo) October 23, 2014
@pwnela speaking about building awesome company culture to a packed room #ATO2014 pic.twitter.com/QnuHADH8SO— Erica Stanley (@ericastanley) October 23, 2014
@AllThingsOpen @pwnela Perks != Culture #ATO2014 Great talk about what "co. culture" really means and what it takes to make it truly great.— DeeDee Lavinder (@ddlavinder) October 23, 2014
Great talk on Company Culture by @pwnela #ATO2014 extremely important yet so many companies get it wrong— Carlos Souza (@caike) October 23, 2014
Very inspiring talk that ended with the importance of kindness as part of culture @pwnela #ATO2014— Ginny Ghezzo (@GinnyGhezzo) October 23, 2014